The Festival Buzz

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on January 31st, 2011 by Mr.Miner

Watkins Glen, New York

The Watkins Glen rumor mill got some strong spins this weekend from two conflicting sources. On Saturday, BandsThatJam.com, a blog based out of New York state, poured gasoline on an already-burning fire by claiming that Phish had signed contracts in place for an 8 set, 3 day Phish-only festival. This report came as a tremendous relief for Phish fans, many who had feared, based on last-week’s speculation, that the band’s festival might be encroached upon by the unwanted scene of The Dave Matthews Band. But as soon as Phish fans began celebrating and discussing summer plans, there came a retort.

Yesterday, Watkins Glen Racetrack President, Michael Printup, publicly denied these reports in the Elmira Gazette saying:

We don’t know who is putting that out. There are a bunch of erroneous sites out there. We’ve been working with a concert promoter. But we don’t even have a contract. It’s all wishful thinking. We haven’t even signed a contract with a promoter. You do that first. Then it’s up to him to see what band he gets…Watkins Glen International is looking at some kind of summer concert, but it’s too early to even start talking about bands.

But when Hidden Track.com‘s Scotty B reached out to Peter Stergion of BandsThatJam for clarification of their report, Stergion was quick to stand by his story. Stergion explained:

The WGI President has to deny the story. They can’t publicly confirm until all the loose ends have been tied up. Our source has given us credible, specific information. Our source is not a Phish fan so they wouldn’t even have the ability to make up the information which is very consistent with what Phish has done in the past.

While not getting any more specific on their, allegedly, rock solid source, Stergion went on to defended his report to Hidden Track:

We publish stories based on good information from good sources. We take a look at the circumstances of the information and decide whether or not it’s credible. In this case we believe this will happen so we published it…We never heard DMB mentioned by anyone in person or any sources from within Watkins Glen. We’re confident that Watkins Glen will be a Phish-only festival.

10.31.09 (G.Lucas)

Well, we’ve heard both sides of this hot topic, and while I am leaning towards believing the report of a Phish-only festival, who can know for sure? The Phish at Watkins Glen rumors have circulated for quite some time now, but a true scare came last week when The Dave Matthews Band, who shares a management company, announced 4 multi-day, multi-band festivals around the country this summer. The feared crossover of the Phish and Dave Matthews scenes seemed imminent, and plenty of people were quick to voice plenty of reasons why that was not a good idea. But let’s not even go there. Hopefully, that disaster has been averted. If such an atrocity ever materialized, be sure I’ll weigh with my two cents.

But for now we will wait…and wait. Phish announced their entire 2010 Summer Tour in March last year, but in 2009, they dropped their first set of dates in January and their second set in March. In short, we could hear any day between now an April. With both Trey and Mike about to kick off their own tours, one might guess that Phish wait until they are done to tell us their summer plans. But then again, who knows? Surrounding hotels (of which there are few) and RVs have already been booked around the Watkins Glen area based on buzz alone. And if I had to guess, 8 sets over 3 days sounds just right to end a tour. One can hope…

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Jam of the Day:

Ghost” 7.23.97 II SBD

A seminal Summer ’97 version.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.23.1997 Lakewood Amphitheatre, Atlanta, Georgia

FLAC Torrent (via etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

The third show US Summer ‘97 capped a comic-book opening to US Summer ’97. Following Virginia Beach and Raleigh, Phish moved down to Atlanta and funked hard in their second visit to the venue. With, perhaps, the hottest “Ghost” of the summer and a smoking “YEM” the band left some legitmate jams in Atlanta, and they were off to Texas at the beginning of a revolutionary summer season. This show goes out via Twitter request to @LacobbieWan! (If you’re on Twitter, follow me @mrminer)

I: Julius, Dirt, NICU, Dogs Stole Things, Ginseng Sullivan, Water in the Sky, Limb By Limb, Split Open and Melt, Billy Breathes, Possum

II: Punch You in the Eye, Ghost > Sample in a Jar, You Enjoy Myself > Rocky Mountain Way* > Chalk Dust Torture

E: Frankenstein

Notes: *Debut, Joe Walsh cover

Source: Schoeps CMC641 > Sonasax > SBM-1 > DA-P1

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Weekend Nuggets: Summer Lovin’

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on January 29th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:

Summer 2010 Pro-Shot Compilation

-Summer Tour Promo
-Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues – 6.25.10 Camden
-46 Days > Tube – 8.7.10 Berkeley
-Backwards Down the Number Line – 6.12.10 Cuyahoga Falls
-Show of Life – 6.19.10 Saratoga Springs
-Chalk Dust Torture – 6.25.10 Camden
-Wolfman’s Brother – 6.26.10 Columbia
-Maze – 8.5.10 Berkeley
-Gotta Jibboo – 7.4.10 Alpharetta
-Jam > Piper – 8.9.10 Telluride
-Saratoga Jam #2 > Swept Away > Steep – 6.20.10 SPAC
-Simple – 8.6.10 Berkeley
-You Enjoy Myself – 7.2.10 Charlotte

(cheers to YEMBlog for this vid!)

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Jam of the Weekend:

Harry Hood” 7.25.03 I

The quintessential post-hiatus “Harry Hood.”

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Phish Confirmed At Watkins Glen?

A local blog from New York State, Bands That Jam, is claiming that Watkins Glen is official, contracts have been signed, and that the festival will be an 8-set, Phish-only affair from June 30-July 3rd! Let’s hope this report is correct. I’m not doubting anyone’s journalistic integrity, but one can’t believe anything until it’s on Phish.com.

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7.31.09 (Wendy Rogell)


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Ten Tunes For Friday: Spring ’92

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on January 28th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

Spring 1992 T-Shirt (Pollock)

Last Friday we looked at highlights from 2010, and this Friday we dig eighteen years earlier into the Spring of 1992. This year ushered in an era of creative growth that would peak at the end of 1995. Let’s take a look at one of Phish’s early creative peaks in Spring 1992—in exclusively soundboard fashion. Happy Friday!

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Reba” 4.17.92 I

A first set gem from Phish’s first visit to The Warfield in San Francisco.

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Antelope > BBFCFM > Antelope” 3.13.92 II

A classic segment from Providence, Rhode Island, that anyone who collected analogs has heard at least twenty times.

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David Bowie” 4.13.92 I

6.25.10 (G. Lucas)

This first set closer in Tempe, Arizona features some early-era groove at the onset of the jam that just kills.

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Stash” 4.13.92 I

Here is the “Stash” from earlier from the same set in Tempe.

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Split Open and Melt” 4.5.92 II

This compact and powerful version kicked off the second set at the minuscule Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado.

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Colonel Forbin’s > Icculus > Mockingbird” 4.16.92 I

1992

Another classic relic of the analog era; Trey slaughters “Mockingbird” like few other versions.

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Tweezer” 4.21.92 II

This sublime “Tweezer” from Eureka, California is one of my favorites, regardless of era.

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Harry Hood” 3.20.92 II

6.27.10 (G.Lucas)

This divine “Harry Hood” came in the middle of the second set in spectacular outing in Binghamton, New York.

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You Enjoy Myself” 3.25.92 II

A mid-set scorcher from Trax in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Settling Into Place

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on January 27th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

Jones Beach '09 (Wendy Rogell)

Almost two years has passed since Joy dropped, and the songs from Phish’s only modern-era album have found their primary spots in the band’s rotation. Today, we’ll look at some of the most promising songs from Joy that were debuted in 2009 and their role in current shows.

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“Ocelot”

Trey's Ocelot Inlay

Debuted right after Hampton in Fenway’s first set, “Ocelot” seemed like a promising jam vehicle for the band out of the gates. At the time, it’s playful and methodical grooves seemed like the could easily lead the band in adventurous directions. I remember all of June ’09 waiting for a big “Ocelot” to open the second set, but  to this day, the song has still not appeared in any second set at all. “Ocelot” has found its home as a first set staple, often the first improvisational piece of its given show. The jam has developed a roots Americana feel, spouting passages that sometimes evoke the sound of The Grateful Dead. While the song never seems obtrusive and provides a warm musical breeze, the piece has yet to take on any risk whatsoever. Seeming to content to play it straight, Phish has domesticated their “Ocelot,” much like Salvador Dali did. Perhaps one day, the band will let their pet song out to play.

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“Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan”

Jones Beach 09 W.Rogell)

When “Stealing Time” crunched from the PA at Jones Beach ’09, many fans freaked on what seemed like a new dissonant, hard rock launch pad. But almost two years later, we are still waiting on the song to break form. A platform for seething guitar solos, instead of morphing into the next improvisational juggernaut, “Stealing Time” has turned into this generation’s “Character Zero”— a hard-edged set closer that leaves the audience on a high note. Closing only one second set in Hartford (6.18.10), “Stealing Time,” like “Ocelot,” now finds its home in the opening half. And when I first heard it, I would have bet good money against that development. Seemingly reluctant to take their new songs to new places, Phish has also kept this song firmly inside the box.

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“Backwards Down the Number Line”

Trey and Tom (Relix.com)

Perhaps the biggest enigma from Joy, “Backwards Down the Number Line” has blown up a handful of times—most notably last summer at Blossom and Jones Beach—but has otherwise remained a noodly anthem. While some of the contained versions shine more than others, Phish has yet to find a good placement for the piece. Often breaking up the flow of second sets with its sudden beginning and abrupt change of vibe, “Number Line” seems to work better as an opener a la SPAC ’09. Though “Number Line” has had some all-star moments, until Phish finds a natural home or musical direction for their ode to friendship, it will continue to be an awkward piece of the band’s catalog.

****

“Twenty Years Later”

Perhaps the most contemporary-sounding Phish songs on Joy, the enchanting-turned-menacing “Twenty Years Later” has most-often appeared as a soft landing pad for outrageous psychedelic jaunts. And just this fall, Phish began pushing the end of the song, itself, creating dissonant and layered walls of sound out of the jam. A song that always seems to fit perfectly at the end of torrid adventures, Phish has definitely found the right home for “Twenty Years Later.”

****

“Light”

8.7.10 -The Greek Theatre (Wendy Rogell)

When Trey performed “Light” twice with Classic TAB (before Phish returned to the stage), I immediately sensed that it would be Phish’s next cosmic trampoline. And lo and behold, “Light” has been the most consistent portal to the universe in this era of Phish. An open-ended piece that is routinely placed in the second set, its jam has migrated from thick ambient textures to futuristic groove, while hitting just about every musical place in between. “Light” is the band’s most exploratory piece right now, and has been since it first explored darkened territory at Bonnaroo (6.14.09), and further exploded during Fall ’09. Easily the improvisational MVP of 2010, every time “Light” started up the most interesting jam of the night was almost sure to follow.

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“Kill Devil Falls”

Starting out as another straight forward rocker at Jones Beach ’09, “Kill Devil Falls” got immediately interesting at Bonnaroo as the band’s first stellar and exploratory jam of this the summer. But these type of excursions have been few and far between from of the song, and no version has yet to touch Bonnaroo’s ’09 peak. Staying within the box 99% of the time, “Kill Devil Falls” most often finds its way into a show—or set—opening slot. Providing quality rock and roll, “Kill Devil Falls” warms up the audience for what is coming next.

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Jam of the Day:

Piper > Guy Forget” 10.1.00 II

A classic nugget from the home stretch of Fall 2000.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

12.4.1995 Mullins Center, Amherst, Massachusetts

FLAC Torrent (via etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload

This December ’95 re-post goes out via reader request to Willowed!

Mullins Center, Amherst, MA

I: Julius, Gumbo, The Divided Sky, Punch You In the Eye, Stash, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, Axilla II, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Hello My Baby,While My Guitar Gently Weeps

II: Timber Ho, Sparkle, Ya Mar, Run Like an Antelope, Billy Breathes, Cars Trucks Buses, You Enjoy Myself, Sample in a Jar, Frankenstein

E: Bouncing Around the Room, Rocky Top

Source: AKG 460B/ck61 > custom pre-amp > Teac DA-P20 (@ 48kHz)

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Humpday Hiatus

Posted in Uncategorized with the on January 26th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

12.30.2010 - MSG (Graham Lucas)

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Jam of the Day:

Disease > Free” 8.5.10 II

A dark horse highlight from The Greek’s opening night that was buried in the jams of the following two.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.2.1994 Garden State Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ

FLAC Torrent (via etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

This classic from Summer ’94 is dedicated to “tha illness.” ‘Nuff said.

PNC Bank / Garden State A.C.

I: Golgi Apparatus, The Divided Sky, Guelah Papyrus, Fast Enough for You, Scent of a Mule, Tweezer -> Lifeboy, Sparkle, Tweezer Reprise

II: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Mike’s Song > Simple > Mike’s Song >Yerushalayim Shel Zahav > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Maze, Sample in a Jar, Slave to the Traffic Light, Highway to Hell

E: Rift

Source: Schoeps mk4

Should We Stay Or We Go?

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on January 25th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

As summer tour rumors and sets of fake dates continue to swirl around cyberspace, let’s look at a few venues that, in my opinion, Phish should and should not return to thru the lens of the dancing fan’s experience.

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Let’s Go Back!…

Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, GA

Alpharetta 2010 (Wendy Rogell)

This smaller amphitheater, new to the Phish circuit last year, replaced Lakewood as the hot spot in—or in this case—outside Atlanta. With a massive. seat-less, GA “floor,” Verizon Wireless provided ample dance space and flat ground, two things that are always at a premium on summer tour. Though the security could have managed the the over-crowding of the floor more effectively, everyone still found their spot for the July 4th stand last year. Removed from Lakewood’s seedy environs and placed in suburbia with all hotels and restaurants within miles of the venue, Alpharetta is the perfect place for Phish fans to take over for another weekend. And rumor has it that we will return come June.

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nTelos Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA

nTelos Pavilion 2010 (C.T.Cycle)

Set up with a large cement dance floor in front of the stage, much like Alpharetta, Portsmouth’s intimate 6,500-person nTelos Pavilion one ups its southern counterpart with a total GA policy. Set right on the water in southeastern Virginia, the freedom to roam this undersized venue provided wonderful respite from the yellow-clad, security guards who plague summer tour.

****

Hershey Park Stadium, Hershey, PA

Hershey Park 2010 (M.Ladd)

Overhauled with a bumping sound system and rubberized dance floor since Phish’s last visit in 2000, Hershey Park—once scorned by fans— provided, arguably, the best concert-experience of 2010. With a total GA policy and ample room for groups of twenty or more to throw down together in prime real estate, dance pits popped up all over. The powerful, open-air sound and endless personal space make Hershey high on any list of venues Phish should play again.

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Venues That Should Jump Off Tour:

Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD

Merriweather 2010 (Graham Lucas)

Despite the fact that Merriweather Post is a historic venue that Phish tears apart, it is at the bottom of the barrel in terms of fan-experience. The lower pavilion is patrolled by teen-aged girls who are backed by inner city bouncers, ready to kick people out of the pavilion (or the show) as if they have a quota to fulfill. Treating their paying customers with utmost disrespect, the security staff at the venue should, honestly, all be fired. A venue where crossing a painted lines is cause for banishment or ejection, there is barely room for enjoyment at Merriweather. The side sections of the pavilion are removed visually and acoustically from the stage, and the lawn may as well be in another county. If I had to pick my least favorite venue on summer tour, Merriweather would take home the first, second, and third place trophies. There is not a single part of the Merriweather experience I find enjoyable, and the staff is there to ensure it stays that way. If I had one tour-based request to be granted by Red Light, it would definitely be to get Phish (the #&@!) out of Merriweather forever.

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Jones Beach Amphitheatre, Wantagh, NY

Jones Beach 2010 (Mitch Ladd)

After a fourteen-year absence from the Long Island venue on the water, Phish has played a two multi-night stands at Jones Beach this era, totalling five shows. But if they care  about their fans’ experiences, they should not return. Run more strictly than a military academy, anyone in the lower pavilion is another zone where one is reprimanded if they cross painted lines, and are implored—sometimes physically—to get back in their row. Moving into the stadium seating, the audience becomes so far removed from the band once in the second deck, I can only imagine the ants on stage from the upper deck perspective. With no space anywhere in the venue, fans are forced to stand side by side while watching music meant to move your body. When leaving Jones Beach ’09’s three-night stand, it felt like being freed from a cage and let out to prowl on summer tour. There are plenty of locales for Phish to play in the New York metro area, so let’s leave this one behind.

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The Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA

The Greek 2010 (W.Rogell)

Though Phish played some of their most impressive shows of the year at this Bay Area icon, the experience, itself, was far from ideal. With a total GA policy, very few fans went to the steep lawn that is hardly in the concert, causing an incredibly overcrowded situation in the free-for all amphitheatre. Thankfully, The Greek has the best acoustics on the planet, because any real dancing was all but impossible. As people flooded the venue in the early afternoon to hold down space, it created an unnecessarily annoying situation. A beautiful place to visit, I see no need for Phish return to a venue in which people are packed together like sardines and any official attempts to ameliorate the situation are non-existent. With proper strategy and aggressive territoriality, one can make The Greek happen to some extent, but for those of us who need more than a square foot of room, it just doesn’t cut it. The next time Phish visits the Bay Area, they should finally get with the program and play a stand at Oakland’s Oracle Arena, formerly named Oakland-Alameda Coliseum when it was the stomping ground of The Grateful Dead.

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Jam of the Day:

Reba” 10.18.94 I

A re-post of a classic version.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

11.26.1994 Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis, MN

FLAC Torrent (via etree), Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Fall '94

This beast from Fall ’94 boasts, likely, my favorite “Bowie” of all-time and “Slave” made famous by A Live One. A classic night through and through, this show goes out via reader request to Dan A! Enjoy this one of a kind adventure.

I: My Friend, My Friend, Possum, Guyute, If I Could, Foam, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Poor Heart, Cavern

II: Halley’s Comet > David Bowie, Sweet Adeline, The Lizards, Sample in a Jar, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Rocky Top

Source: DAUD/OTS AKG SE 10’s > Marantz PMD-700@48kHz

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Weekend Nuggets: A Holiday Potpourri

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on January 22nd, 2011 by Mr.Miner

VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:

“Crosseyed > Twist, Simple” 1.1.11 (mkdevo)

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Jams of the Weekend:

Farmhouse” 12.27.10 II

A gorgeous piece from the first night of the New Year’s Run in Worcester.

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Reba” 1.1.11 I

Trey’s magnificent work carries this entire jam.

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****

12.30.2010 - MSG (Graham Lucas)

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Ten Tunes For Friday: 2010 Style

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on January 21st, 2011 by Mr.Miner

The Greek Theatre - 8.5.10 (W. Rogell)

We are back in the long-offseason, which will certainly mean more installments of Ten Tunes For Friday. This week, since we have been looking back on 2010, I decided to highlight jams from the past year. By no means was I trying to pinpoint the ten best jams, but simply ten outstanding pieces of improvisation from the past calendar year. Enjoy reminiscing over the last day of the week.

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Rock and Roll > Carini ” 10.22 II Providence

This sequence kicked off an underrated second set with one of the defining jam sequences of fall tour; some avant-garde psychedelia to start kick off Friday.

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12.31.10 (G.Estreich)

Ghost > Theme” 8.15 II Alpine

Shredding versions of each song came together to open Alpine’s final set with fireworks.

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Simple” 8.6.10 I Greek

One of the most creative jams of 2010.

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6.25.10 (G.Lucas)

Piper > Mist ” 8.19 II Telluride

After botching the Rocky Mountain “Tweezer” everyone had dreamed about since the shows were announced, Phish salvaged the set with one of the “Pipers” of the year.

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Stash” 10.31 I Atlantic City

The much-heralded Halloween “Stash” has definite staying power.

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Harry Hood” 8.12 II Deer Creek

8.10.10 (G.Lucas)

A dark horse version overshadowed by The Greek and Jones Beach’s centerpieces, this Deer Creek outing is right up there with the “Hoods” of summer.

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Split Open and Melt” 10.11.10 Broomfield

The Broomfield shows seemed to get buried in the rubble of an east coast avalanche last fall, but several the pieces from the run, including this “Split,” deserve to be remembered.

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2001 > Bowie” 10.30 II Atlantic City

Possibly the most fluid musical sequence of fall tour; a true pimp ride through the universe.

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****

Jones Beach -8/2010 (M. Ladd)

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The Top Show of 2011

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on January 20th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

1.1.11 (Chris LaJaunie)

Only one show into the new year, and we’ve already got a keeper. Was anybody surprised? On New Year’s Day, Phish dropped a top-to-bottom smoker with one of the outstanding second sets of this era in which the improv never stopped. Crafting a slick setlist to cap the run, Phish tore MSG apart in their first hurrah of 2011, not to mention the first set, whose final four-song sequence also caught fire. In a not-so-bizarre case of prognostication, everyone in the building knew from long ago that this night would hold something special, and when Phish delivered so flagrantly, it made me think.

1.1.11 (A.Sepler)

Advertised separately on their website as “1.1.11,” the band began hyping this show before the holidays even began. And with that in mind, of course they came out and played a ripping show. This brings me to the question of Phish’s current intent when they step on stage, something that I’ve been pondering since the end of this show. In my opinion, the band has now reached a level of proficiency where they can play a two sets at that level at almost any time (once they’ve got a few shows under their belt). But what determines when they decide to go big? Sure, they band was “on” on January 1st, but they have been “on” for quite some time now with very few inconsistencies. And while Phish killed the entire set with tight jams galore, but for one piece of transcendent music in “Simple,” its not like they were throwing down mind-numbing magic; they were giving each jam the creative attention it deserved without concern for what was coming next—something that hasn’t always happened. They were playing with the carefree energy and focus that characterized several nights this fall, and they were doing with the support of a well-crafted, non-stop setlist. Hence we all freaked, and rightfully so, Phish played a stellar show by anyone’s standards. But in terms of start-to-finish shows, why only on the first (and for one full set on New Year’s Eve)?

Many say that Phish alters their type of show to access different sectors of their fan base. But to that I ask, “Was anyone you encountered after 1.1.11 disappointed that the band jammed too much in the second set?” Doubtful. Everyone left Madison Square Garden exactly how Phish wanted them to—jacked to the sky over the best show of the five-night run. Perhaps this possible “premeditation” took place because of a pre-planned New Year’s Run that Phish wanted to end with a bang. But why don’t they come out and play all killer, no filler second sets more often, when that’s—empiracally—what everybody wants to hear?

1.1.11 (C. La Jaunie)

Others may say that the band can’t just turn IT on and play like they did on the 1st whenever they want. But what about the previous four shows when every time the band took an improvisational risk—approximately once a night—they found, arguably, the best jams of 2010 in Worcester’s “Harry Hood,” and “Seven Below,” and Madison Square Garden’s “Ghost.” Additionally, the band also took “Tweezer” on its most exploratory jaunt of the year. My point is, Phish did seemingly, turn it on at a moments notice over the New Year’s Run, and they did so with ease and overwhelming success. Surrounding these musical treasures with various song sequences, each stood alone as the shining star of their particular show. But on New Year’s Day, Phish decided to improvise passionately all night long instead of in fifteen minute bursts— something not so outlandish, but had profound effect.

1.1.11 (Masthay)

On January 1st, Phish didn’t play the best show of their life, but they certainly played one of the most impressive shows of the this era. The band chose a great setlist, but we all know that setlists, alone, don’t make a show. With cohesive jamming throughout, Phish underlined the night with a smooth second half in which each song got full and proper treatment. But was there ever any doubt? Was it was any “harder” for Phish to play a show like January 1st than it was to play any other on the run? I’m not sure. I do believe they intended to make 1.1 the best show of the run—and that they did. I believe that Phish can pretty much do what they intend to do onstage these days; it’s not like the turning of the calendar gave them magical jamming powers. So why wouldn’t they play shows like that throughout the holiday run?

I’m not trying to downplay 1.1.11 at all; I absolutely loved the show. But let’s hope that when we are making best of 2011 lists, we’ll remember January 1st as a show that raised the bar for the year, and not one of its greatest moments.

I: My Soul, Tube, Runaway Jim, Foam, Guelah Papyrus, The Divided Sky, Round Room, Walk Away, Gotta Jibboo, Reba > Walls of the Cave

II: Crosseyed and Painless > Twist, Simple, Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley, Makisupa Policeman > David Bowie

E: Fee, Frankenstein

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Jam of the Day:

“Bathtub Gin” 7.3.10 I

Another peak at the now-available remasters courtesy of Phish Inc.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

3.20.1992 Broome County Forum, Binghamton, New York

Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

3.20.1992 (Unknown)

One of my favorite Spring ’92 shows, this SBD was highly circulated back in the analog era. With two sets of early-school fire, and a top-shelf. early-90’s “Antelope,” I highly suggest pulling this show if its not already in your stash.

I: Wilson, Reba, Brother, Glide, Rift, Fluffhead, Maze, The Lizards, Mound, Run Like an Antelope

II: Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Sanity, The Sloth, The Mango Song, Cavern, Uncle Pen, Harry Hood, Cold as Ice > Terrapin > Cold as Ice, Possum > Secret Language Instructions > Possum

E: Lawn Boy, Fire

Source: SBD

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The Top Ten of 2010: Part II

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags on January 19th, 2011 by Mr.Miner

Picking up right where we left off yesterday, here are my top five shows of the year.

****

5. 10.31.2010 Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey

10.31.2010 (Graham Lucas)

Phish’s second Halloween cover set since they’ve comeback turned into one of their best. Transforming Atlantic City’s historic Boardwalk Hall into a retro-’70s dance party, Phish nailed Little Feat’s Waiting For Columbus, in a selection that few saw coming. For the first time ever, Phish interpreted a live album, a choice that provided a more upbeat and engaging feel to the Halloween set than some of the former studio albums. With a guest horn section and virtuoso percussionist, Giovanni Hidalgo, Phish recreated the music of a Little Feat, one of the band’s primary influences with blues-based funk grooves and quick-witted musical exchanges. One of the experiential highlights of 2010 for almost all who were there, this set could land this show on this list by itself, but there was more! The most impressive “Stash” of 2010 and a holiday-themed combo of “Ghost > Spooky” highlighted the first set, while a celebratory third frame centered on a smoking “Jibboo” that segued into “Camel Walk,” and included several Phish anthems. All in all, this three-set fall finale delivered in full.

I: Frankenstein, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Ghost > Spooky, The Divided Sky, Roses Are Free, Funky Bitch, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Stash, Character Zero

II: Fat Man in the Bathtub, All That You Dream, Oh Atlanta, Old Folks Boogie, Time Loves a Hero > Day or Night, Mercenary Territory, Spanish Moon, Dixie Chicken > Tripe Face Boogie, Rocket in My Pocket, Willin’, Don’t Bogart That Joint, A Apolitical Blues, Sailin’ Shoes, Feats Don’t Fail Me Now

III: Down with Disease > Back on the Train, Gotta Jibboo > Camel Walk, Suzy Greenberg, Wilson > Harry Hood, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, You Enjoy Myself

E: Julius

****

4. 8.14.2010 Alpine Valley, East Troy, Wisconsin

Alpine 2010 (J.Longstreet)

This flowing two-setter featured sharp whole band jamming, blistering work by Trey, and one of the jams of the year in “Disease > What’s The Use?” In this show that never stopped, Phish brought huge doses of fire-laced playing, particularly in the second set, while also including a swank mid-“Mike’s Groove” stop in “Sneakin’ Sally.” The entire band clicked from the get go on this night, and never stumbled en route a classic Alpine show that brought summer tour to a final peak. “Tube” opened up and strong versions of “Reba”‘ and “Antelope” popped within a first frame with no real lulls. Transformed to DVD in record time, Phish, themselves, have already given a nod to this night as one of their favorites.

I: Tube, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, Funky Bitch, Reba >Fuck Your Face, Alaska, Back on the Train, Taste, When the Circus Comes, Lawn Boy, Sparkle, Gumbo, Run Like an Antelope

II: The Sloth, Down with Disease > What’s the Use?,  Scent of a Mule, Mike’s Song > Dirt, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley, Weekapaug Groove, Bug

E: Quinn the Eskimo

****

3. 8.7.2010 The Greek Theatre, Berkeley, California

8.7.10 (Wendy Rogell)

If the Alpine’s summer showcase represented a top-shelf Phish rock concert, The Greek’s third night was akin to a symphony. Peaking their three-show stand with delicate and inspired creativity, Phish capped the run with, in my opinion, the best set of summer. Kicking off with “Wilson” and fusing into my pick for jam of the summer–an exploratory “Light” that found pure gold—the band then came back from the stratosphere via “Twenty Years Later.” Phish showcased an impeccable mid-set “Harry Hood” and closed the show with the combination of “2001,” a rendition of “Suzy” that actually packed a punch with a smoking reprise jam, and a patiently sculpted “Slave” that fit congruently with its surroundings. Playing more fluidly than they had all summer, this show was underlined by the band’s ego-less interplay. Daytime high-points came in soaring versions of “Jibboo” and “Reba,” and a “46 Days > Tube” combo that lit up the end of the first set.

I: AC/DC Bag, Foam, Gotta Jibboo, Reba > Sleep Again, Army of One, Poor Heart, 46 Days > Tube, Character Zero

II: Wilson > Light > Twenty Years Later, Harry Hood, Theme From the Bottom, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Suzy Greenberg*,  Slave to the Traffic Light

E: The Lizards, First Tube     (*w/ reprise jam)

****

2. 10.26.2010 Verizon Wireless, Manchester, New Hampshire

Manchester Poster (K.Taylor)

Right before Phish’s three-night Halloween weekend in Atlantic City, they dropped a mid-week bomb in New Hampshire that trumped any one of them. Comprising the first set entirely of songs unplayed on fall tour (other than “Curtain (With)” and “It’s Ice”), Phish brought out “After Midnight” for the first time since Big Cypress, “Alumni Blues,” “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing,” and “Walls of the Cave,” among others. And after setbreak, the band played one of their most impressive top-to-bottom stanzas of the year. After a bizarrely-placed “Possum” opened up, Phish dove into one of the elite “Lights” of fall. Illustrating the late-year, groove-based direction of the song, this tightly-woven excursion found its way back through “Alumni’s” funk patterns en route to one of fall’s brightest highlights. And as soon as “Light’s” psychedelic roller coaster ended, perhaps, the “Mike’s Groove” of the year began. With the reggae stylings of “Makisupa > Night Nurse > Makisupa” sliding out of “Simple,” and the best “Ghost” of fall dripping artistically into “Mango Song,” this musical sequence had a little bit of everything. Bringing the set to a head in a wild “Weekapaug” that included a staple jam on The Rolling Stones’ “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin,” Trey lyrically reprised several of the set’s songs over the break-neck music. Almost bursting at the seams, Phish flew from “Weekapaug” into a “Llama Reprise” to end the set in shredding and energetic fashion.

I: After Midnight, The Sloth, Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, Mellow Mood, Access Me, Llama, All of These Dreams, The Curtain (With), Scent of a Mule, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing, It’s Ice, Walls of the Cave

II: Possum, Light, Mike’s Song > Simple > Makisupa Policeman > Night Nurse* > Makisupa Policeman, The Wedge, Ghost > The Mango Song, Weekapaug Groove > Llama Reprise

E: Show of Life    (*debut, Gregory Isaacs)

****

1. 10.20.2010 Memorial Auditorium, Utica, New York

10.20.10 (Casey Boire)

On October 20, in Utica, New York, Phish played their best two set show of this era—plain and simple. In recent times, a show with one outstanding set can be a tour highlight, and Phish’s mid-week stop in Utica featured two jaw-dropping halves of music. Fusing their improvisational playfulness of old with their musicianship of now, Phish twisted and turned through two frames of musical adventure. After taking part in a rite firmly planted in the moment, while looking towards both the past and the future, when the lights came on after this one, everyone stood wide-eyed and disoriented as if waking from a dream. You could tell from the looks on people’s faces that Phish had just played the show of the year.

As soon as the band tore apart a third-song “Vultures,” the dial was set for eleven and was never turned down. “Wolfman’s > Cities,” “David Bowie,” “McGrupp,” “Saw It Again,” and the best “Anetlope” in eons—all laced with the theme of “Guyute”—quickly turned into a face-melting first set. The energy in the building was abuzz, and everyone seemed to be aware that we sat amidst a retro-throw down like none other. Everything the band touched turned to gold on this night, and the second set peaked with one of the most sublime sequences of 2010—”Split > Have Mercy > Piper > Split—with a “Birds” reprise in “Piper.” Flowing organically and with top-shelf communication, Phish darted and dashed their way around a show laced with their signature wizardry. Throw in one of the most blissful open jams of the year out of “Have Mercy” and you’ve got the recipe for the best Phish show of 2010.

I: My Soul, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Vultures, Wolfman’s Brother > Cities, Guyute, David Bowie, Wilson, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Saw It Again > Run Like an Antelope

II: Drowned > Sand > Theme From the Bottom, Axilla, Birds of a Feather, Tela, Split Open and Melt > Have Mercy > Piper > Split Open and Melt, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Good Times Bad Times

****

Honorable Mention (in no particular order):

10.19, Augusta, ME: Though boasting two of fall tour’s top-tier jams in “Light” and an off-the-charts “Reba” for the ages, the entire show didn’t have enough consistency or flow to make the top ten.

8.6, The Greek: Though each set featured two outstanding in jams (“Bathtub Gin” / “Cities” and “Rock and Roll” / “Simple”) the band had yet to put it all together like the did the following night.

10.22, Providence, RI: A strong second set kicked off with one of fall’s best jam sequences in “Rock and Roll > Carini,” but there wasn’t much to speak of in the first.

6.25, Camden, NJ: A legitimate June contender for the number ten position, the second set alone brings the heat with “Chalkdust > Caspian” and the Michael Jackson-inspired “2001 > Light.”

10.30 Atlantic City, NJ: I’m only putting this here because I’ll get too much flak if I don’t. “Tweezer > Led Zeppelin > Whatever.” But “2001 > Bowie” contains some of the most scintillating playing of the season. Tack on a strong first set and a fun-filled rock show emerges.

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Jam of the Day:

“Jibboo” 7.4.10 II

A taste of the just-released Kevorkian remasters courtesy of Live Phish.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY: Will be back tomorrow!

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